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This is the fourth episode in the new monthly ACES conversation series 'Racism & Law in Europe' with Thomas Spijkerboer. The series aims to offer a space for academic and practise-oriented reflections on how law is implicated in racializing subjects in today’s Europe.

Event details of International Migration Law and Coloniality
Date 8 December 2021
Time 16:00 -17:00

In European human rights law, it is taken for granted that states have the sovereign right to regulate migration. A right to be admitted to a country of which one is not a national, or a right not to be expelled, exists only in exceptional cases. Where does the well-established right of States to control the entry of non-nationals into their territory come from? This session discusses the colonial and racial origins of states’ right to exclude non-nationals and thus modern international migration law.

About the speaker

Thomas Spijkerboer is professor of migration law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research has focused on gender and sexuality in asylum law; the role of courts; irregularised migration and border deaths; and the externalisation of European migration law. His current research looks at coloniality and racialisation in international migration and refugee law.

About the series

The Black Lives Matter protests across European cities opened up a wider public discussion on racism and racial discrimination in Europe. One issue prominently raised, was that of the role of law in Europe in justifying, enabling, or even constituting racialized violence. Yet, despite the ubiquity of the concept of racial discrimination in European laws, as a conceptual category of critical inquiry, race is conspicuously absent in much of the European legal discourse. This is surprising, given the long legacies and continued persistence of racist ideologies in e.g., labour, immigration, family, and citizenship law.

The monthly ACES conversation series Racism and Law in Europe aims to offer a space for academic and practise-oriented reflections on how law is implicated in racializing subjects in today’s Europe. The series will also discuss law’s potential in responding to racial discrimination, or even reversing structural racism. 

The conversation series will be held online and invites the audience to think along, and engage with our speakers’ methodological and theoretical approaches. The series will use the zoom seminar format to invite audience participation. Contingent on each speaker’s permission, the initial intervention and the conversation will be recorded and publicized. 

The series is hosted and organised by Lys Kulamadayil & Stefan Salomon